On TN immigration politics and AG Herbert Slatery

The New Yorker has an interesting article on immigration politics in Tennessee, focusing on Attorney General Herbert Slatery’s decision to back out of a threatened lawsuit to force termination of the DACA program that blocks deportation of those brought into the United States illegally as children.

Seems Slatery met for an hour with Stephanie Teatro and one of her colleagues from the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition before making his decision. An excerpt:

“He did everything we hoped for, and at such a strategic moment,” Teatro told me. “There’s probably a temptation to write off the states involved in the campaign against DACA. But we didn’t think the campaign reflected the values of Tennessee, and we didn’t think this level of attack should be normalized in our state. People support daca recipients here.”

Teatro believes that Slatery’s letter also gives cover to Tennessee’s senators. “We didn’t want our senators to feel uncomfortable challenging the Attorney General,” she said. “If the state’s official position is against these kids, it will it make it harder for Senator Corker to support the dream Act. He’s up for election next year.”

Immigration politics in Tennessee are complicated—and changing. The state has one of the most conservative legislatures in the country and a small—though rapidly growing—immigrant population. Some of the harshest recent anti-immigrant legislation in the country has emerged in Tennessee, from bills punishing the undocumented to measures aimed at curtailing the resettlement of refugees.

Yet two-thirds of Tennesseans now support a bill that would allow undocumented students who grew up in the state to qualify for in-state tuition at public universities. And the measure recently came within a single vote of passing the state assembly, where it was sponsored by a Republican named Mark White (state representative from Memphis). “Some issues are not about politics,” White told me. “This is not an immigration issue; it’s an education issue. You have these wonderful individuals graduating from Tennessee high schools.” Slatery, along with the governor, had supported the in-state tuition bill; in White’s view, Slatery’s original decision to join the anti-daca effort had been more surprising than his eleventh-hour defection.

Note: Previous post HERE.

UPDATE Note: The right-wing Tennessee Star notes the New Yorker article in a Tuesday post bearing the headline, “Tennessee Attorney General Slatery Pushes Amnesty For Illegal Immigrants On Advice From Soros Funded Organization”

5 Responses to On TN immigration politics and AG Herbert Slatery

  • Hope Foulds says:

    Slatery has shown his in ability to lead and has capitulated to rino Republicans. I would like to know how the Attorney General of the state of Tennessee, squares his actions with the duties of his office. Maybe he has forgotten that the United States was built on the rule of law. I worry that these actions send a message to law-abiding citizens, that they don’t necessarily need to obey the laws of the land.

    • Betty Anderson says:

      With all due respect, I strongly support A.G. Slatery’s decision. He has shown courage and compassion, and thus taken “the road less travelled” by the conservative wing of his party. Conservative or liberal, Democrat or Republican, laws should be passed with a view of how that law will benefit our children, for they are the future of our state and country. Too often, laws are now passed to appease the biases and prejudices of adults. Totally shortsighted.

  • David Price III says:

    I moved to Tennessee eight years ago from California. Tennessee still has time to avoid the problems California created for itself with unbridled illegal immigration. The social and economic costs are now staggering in that state and there is no turning back. Tennesseans better wake up before the same problems surface here.

  • Penny Harrington says:

    General Slatery should be commended for his willingness to listen to argument and to change a position when he realizes that both the facts and common decency require it. I am proud of what he’s done and hope that members of the Tennessee Republican will think for themselves. They proudly proclaim their Christianity as though it were a qualification for office. Here they have an opportunity to show how caring for children fits in their votes as well as their rhetoric.

  • Earlier this year I conducted a constituent survey to the 12th Senatorial District. One question was: Should immigrants who have entered this country illegally be entitled to state benefits from health departments, public schools or in-state college tuition? Eighty-six percent (86%) said no. Seven percent (7.2%) said yes and the rest (6.7%) were undecided.

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